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Us 16, Libya 10, Cairo 6, Madam 5, Clinton 4, Chris Stevens 4, U.s. 4, Stevens 4, United States 4, Eastern Libya 3, Arkansas 3, California 3, Salvador 2, Gaddafi 2, Mullen 2, Mike Mullen 2, Moretti 2, Al Qaeda 2, Tunisia 2, Afghanistan 2,
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  CSPAN    Capitol Hill Hearings    News/Business.  

    January 24, 2013
    6:00 - 7:00am EST  

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department who is responsible for viewing the itineraries of ambassadors in advance, in order to determine whether there's an undue threat to their safety? to the general answer to that is no, ambassadors are given what's called chief of mission authority. ambassadors, especially those who we ask to go to dangerous posts, are pretty independent folks. some of them might say, well, what do you think about this or that, but most of them make their own digs. chris stevens did not ask anyone for permission to go to benghazi, i don't think it would have crossed his mind. robert ford, who served as our ambassador to syria, when out on numerous ocases -- occasions to talk to the opposition before we pulled him out of damascus. we had, you know, very brave ambassadors like ryan crocker, one of our very best, who it would be difficult to say, ryan, you can't go do this even though you decided you should do it.
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what we're trying to do is create a more ongoing discussion between our ambassadors, our bureaus back in the state department who are regional experts, and our security people so that at the very least no ambassador is taking an unnecessary risk, however that is defined. >> with regard to ambassador stevens, certainly it was brave of him to go to benghazi on the date he did. i have to ask you honestly, though, was there anything in his itinerary on the 10th or 11th that required his personal presence? >> he certainly thought so, congressman he did, of course, discuss this with his own security people. we do have regional security officers in these posts. they are the ones that an ambassador will turn. to he believes it was important for him to go to benghazi, there were a number of meetings that he was holding and some public events that he had on
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his schedule and you know, he was someone who really believed strongly he had to get out there and i think as the a.r.b. pointed out, he was given great deference by the rest of the government. >> do you have any concept of the number of american troops it might have take ton actually create a totally secure environment for him in benghazi on september 10 and 11? >> no. the number of diplomatic security personnel requested in the cables is five. there were five there that night. with him. plus there was a mutual understanding with the annex that had a much more heavily armed presence because of the work they were doing in the region. it is very difficult to, in
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retrospect, to really anticipate what might have been. one of the r.s.o.'s who had served in libya said the kind of attack the compound suffered had not been anticipated. we had gotten used to preparing for car bombs and suicide bombings and things like that but this was of a different nature. and we even saw that at the annex, which was much more heavily fort fid, had much more heavy military equipment, we lost two of our best and had one of our diplomatic security officers badly injured. he's still at walter reed. so even the annex which had more assets in the face of the attack was suffering losses that night. >> thank you very much. >> mr. moreno of pennsylvania. >> good afternoon, madam speaker -- madam secretary.
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in august of 2012, after the benghazi attack, they published a report on behalf of al qaeda in lib rah, it detailed particularly in east libya. something alarming to me in this d.o.d. report was the mention that al qaeda groups in lib ja have adopted the black flag which symbolizes commitment to violent jihad promoted by al qaeda's senior leaders. in my hand, i hold a picture of the flag that the department of state identified to be a prominent issuance of this flag and on the rise in libya. i also hold a picture of the same type of flag in tunisia, where the protesters are outside. in addition i have a flag, the
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picture was taken in cairo, at a u.s. embassy where demonstrations took place. another picture in jordan at the u.s. embassy where protests took place. in bahrain, over 2,000 protesters who burned numerous u.s. and israeli flags, again at the embassy. in kuwait, u.s. embassy 500 demonstrators chanting obama, we are all osama. again. and again, a flag flown and carried through the streets as well. in libya. my question, madam secretary, were you aware of the d.o.d. report prior to the terrorist attack in benghazi? >> i was certainly aware of a number of reports from throughout our government. i don't know of the specific
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one you were referring to. there were d.o.d. reports, state department reports, talking about the decreasing or the increasing threat environment in eastern libya. that was what we were trying to address with the libyans. and remember the election in july in libya brought to victory what we would consider moderate people who had a very different view of it than al qaeda or other groups. the united states has to be as effective partnering with jihaddists whether they fly a black flag or other flag. >> i clearly understand that. however this flag was pointed out to be affiliated with al qaeda, terrorists who attack and kill united states citizens
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from around the world. did anyone in your department below you, were they aware of this report and photos prior to and don't you think they should have brought this to your attention? >> i am well aware there were people claiming to be associated with al qaeda. that were attempting to influence militias, attempting to exercise more authority, along with a number of other groups that didn't necessarily work under that flag but had the same militant jihaddist mentality. i was certainly aware of that. so was chris stevens, so was our team in libya. >> my point is this flag kept coming up and you did not think that was important enough to increase security when after how many embassies with this flag was shown in demonstrations? i think it would demand an
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increase in security. those below you that might have known this should have brought it to your attention. i come from industry, i come from government. there are individuals that just have to be cut loose when they're not performing their tasks. are these three people that are elite, are they still being paid? -- that are on leave, are they still being paid? >>er on administrative leave and under federal law and regulation, they are being paid. >> what's the holdup? >> there are regulations and laws that have to be followed. >> what's the holdup in saying, you three let me down, this should have been brought to my attention, we know lo -- we no longer need you. >> personnel discussions are not appropriation for public settings. we have taken every step that was available and will continue to do so and we are looking for additional authority. to just finish up an oh -- on the points you made, we had good security at all those embassies other than in tunisia and then
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when they were asked to respond they did. i go back to the point on the other side of the aisle, we are dependent on government support and where it does exist unless we invade and unless we have a big military presence in a country, we are doing the best we can with our diplomatic security and private security guards. and any other help we can get>> mr. vargas of california. >> thank you very much, michigan, -- mr. chairman, for the opportunity and thank you very much, madam secretary, for being here and i want to thank you for the excellent work world. i have to say that because it's true and secondly, i don't think my wife, my 16-year-old daughter or my 9-year-old daughter, she'd probably turn on me and wouldn't let me in the house if i didn't say that. you are a hero to many, especially women.
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you seem to bring out deep aspirations in them that i've never seen anybody do before. thank you for your service. when i was reading the information here, it brought back to mind another assassination, murder, i was jesuit for five years and spernt time in el sal vacor. -- intel salvador. -- in al salvador. assassination of several priests, the housekeeper, and her young daughter, 15 years old. i knew them because i worked with them. i know the pain i felt when i heard that they died. i had left the jesuits by then. so i know that you being the superior of the people who died, that's why i'm glad we
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brought up the names here, it's important to mention the names, ambassador christopher stephens, mr. shaun smith, mr. tyrone woods, mr. again dougherty, many of us have falte they didn't die in vain. one of the things that troubled me as i read this was the reliance we have on local security. that's the part that didn't make sense to me. i come from san diego, we have the marine corps there. we have the navy, we have incredibly good security and service people. why don't we rely more on them. >> that's an excellent question. you brought back some very sad memories in talking about the losses that occurred in el salvador. you know, we do rely primarily on host nation support but we have to take a harder look at
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the commitment and the capacity of these host nations and therefore in places all over the world, we also have private security guards, some armed, some unarmed, we have marine guards at many places, about 150 who at least are demonstrating a line of defense but we have to do more. when you ask why do we rely on these, in part because we don't have military assets everywhere. if you look at the statements, particularly by admiral mullen, who was our chairman of our joint chief he said, we have to work together more closely between state and d.o.d. but it's unrealistic, in his words, to tether our military to every high risk post. part of what we're trying to struggle with is how do we make our facilities as secure as
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possible without turning them into fortresses, because our diplomats are not soldiers, how do we have reliable private security. the brigade was a libya supported militia that had been protecting stevens before gaddafi fell. they'd been reliable, been responsive but they weren't available in the first minutes and hours of the attack on our compound. we also contracted with a private security company that had a permit to operate in lib yasm because you know the united states, unless we go into a country with massive military force, we, you know, go in and we follow the rules of the country. and we had to get a security force that had a permit from the libyan government. so these are all issues that are being looked at so we try to fill the gaps that have been identified.
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>> thank you. the last thing i would just correct, you said earlier, that we haven't done enough promoting ourselves around the country and the world, i think you have. you have done a fantastic job and other than president kennedy, i don't know anyone who has had a better image in the latin americas. congressman. south carolina. >> madam secretary, let me tell you, americans are frustrated. they're frustrated over the handle of benghazi, what happened when four americans died there, they're frustrated and sometimes down right angry about being what they think, being misled about what really happened there. being told that this was a protest over a video, not just for a couple of days but for weeks on end. and then they're frustrated when they see comments from you this morning when you said what difference at this point does it make? i'll tell you what difference it makes. it makes a difference when americans think they were misled about something for
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political reasons. in the hearing this morning you mentioned that we were clear- eyed about the threats and dangers as they were developing in eastern libya. madam secretary if you were really new york your words, clear-eyed, about the levels of threat to our consulate in benghazi or our special mission in benghazi, then you should have known about chris stevens' memo i believe of 16 august that said our consulate could not be defended from a coordinated attack. questions americans have is, did he expect an attack? if you were clear-eyed why did your department reject the request i believe on 7 june for 16 additional security agents. a team that would have been funded by d.o.d. if you were clear-eyed shouldn't you have known that there was no real libyan government to turn to for security assistance. you answer that question from
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mr. meeks earlier, you said you were unsure about the libyan government and their ability to provide that assistance. if you were clear-eyed were you clear-eyed about al qaeda's displeasure with whom we seem to be supporting during the summer elections, the moderate that was elected. if you were clear-eyed shouldn't you have known that al qaeda roams freely in and around benghazi. as my friend from pennsylvania pointed out there were al qaeda flags not just at the protest but flying all over benghazi. if you were clear-eyed were you clear-eyed when the brits left benghazi because they had the attack? why did four americans die? what was so important that ambassador stevens, if he knew there was a security threat in benghazi, he went there on september 10 and 11 and gave his life for our country. what was so important for him to go to eastern libya, knowing all these threats are clear, i think you misspoke earlier when
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you said you didn't know of any requests that were denied for more security. june 7 email exchange between ambassador stevens and moretti, he requested an additional m.s.d. team. moretti said unfortunately m.s.d. can't support the request. there was a request made and it was denied on june 7. so madam secretary, you let the consulate become a death trap. that's malpractice. what does responsibility mean, madam secretary. there were four people at the department of state. that have culpability on this. they are still in their jobs. i heard the answer about about firing or removing personnel. i get that but this was gross negligence.
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at what point in time can our administration fire someone whose -- not fire someone whose gross negligence resulted in the deaths of four americans. what does the word responsibility mean to you? >> i think i've made that clear. let me say we've come here and made a very open, transparent presentation, i did not have to declassify the a.r.b. i could have joined 18 of the other a.r.b.'s under both democratic and republican administrations, kept it classified and just said good- bye. that's not who i am, that's not what i do. and i have great confidence that the accountability review board did the job they were asked to do, made the recommendations they thought were based on evidence, not on emotions. >> there was a lot of evidence, reclaiming my time there was a lot of evidence that led up to the security situation. you mentioned transparency.
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you haven't provided the call log of messages, instant messages during the attack between the post and the operations center, in an air of transparency will you release these logs? >> i will get an answer to you on that but i will tell you once more, the reason we have accountability review boards is we take out of poll -- take out politics, take out emotions and try to get to the truth. i think this distinguished panel did just that. we are working diligently over time to implement their recommendations. that is my responsibility. i'm going to do everything i can before i finish my tenure and i would also, going back to your first point about the concerns that people you represented have expressed about statements made, i would refer you both to the unclassified version of the a.r.b. where after months of research and talking to more than 100
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witnesses, the picture is still very complicated about what happened that night, there are key questions i'm quoting surrounding the identity actions -- identity, actions and motivation of the perpetrators that remain to be determined. i recommend every member read the classified version that gos into greater detail that i cannot speak about here today. >> it was a tritcht attack, the motivation is clear. -- it was a terrorist attack, the motivation is pretty clear. >> mr. schneider. >> thank you for joining us. we are grateful. let me also echo the words of my colleagues and extend my personal gratitude for your service you did our nation well and made our nation proud. you've done an extraordinary job as the nation's top diplomat and you will be sorely missed. the attacks claimed the lives of four americans including that of ambassador chris stevens who did so much to help the libyans. he returned because he knew the important work of building a
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new libya remained unfinished. ambassadors knowingly put themselves in danger to serve their country. while we know the jobs are not without risk we must do more to support our diplomats. i am pleased the state department conducted a serious investigation and appreciate that you have already stated you'll accept every up with of the 29 review board's recommendations. the state department is increasingly operating in high threat locations throughout the world requiring our diplomats to be stationed further afield and closer to dangers on the ground. this not only raises the security risk by our diplomat but places a strain on existing resources. as we move forward, how will the state department evaluate the benefits to u.s. interests from having an official presence in a given location versus the security risks faced by that mission?
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how do you expect the department will weigh the physical and technical and political costs as opposed to the gains of operating in frontline states? and last, what changes do you think these demands will require vis-a-vis people and other resources at the state department. >> very important questions and i can't do justice to them in the time left. we will certainly get you additional written information. let me briefly say, congressman, you know, i ordered the first ever quadrenall diplomacy and -- review because i said, i serve opped the armed services committee, where we get every four years a quadrenall defense review which helps the armed services committees in both houses plan for their authorization. i wanted to lay the groundwork for us to do the same with the state department. in that document we began what is a very difficult analysis about how to balance and mitigate risk versus presence. it was part of the -- it was
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un-- it was one of the most process. and we have an ongoing effort under way because if you talk to many of our ambassadors who, especially the experienced ones, they really don't want to be told by washington or anybody where they can go, when they can go, what they can do. they've been in the foreign service 10, 20, 30 years or more and they believe in their missions and they believe they have a better sense of how to evaluate risk. at the same time we have to be conscious of and make decisions about how to protect not just ambassadors but all our personnel and their families in these high-risk posts. it is a constant debate. we have authorized departure, we have ordered departure and it is something that we take very seriously when we do it. when we left benghazi on the
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night of 11th, 12th, others were still there. the italians were there, the turks were there. people evaluate risk over time and i think it's important to do what we can to minimize it, some of that will be done by technology, some by hard security and some by what we call soft power. but trying to get the balance right is very difficult. >> as we look forward to the steps taken, how do we ensure, we'll be in new places, face new challenges, how do we make sure we are able to provide the resources to high risk, high threat posts? >> very, very difficult. you know, that's going to be a question of new streamlined processes and protocols, sufficient security both hard and soft and resources. and we have to -- we have to ask you based on our best assessment about what we need to
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do our job. sometimes, you know, you've got a budget process and nobody has predicted that you're going to have a revolution against gaddafi. then you've got to scramble. how do you get somebody into benghazi and what to do in tripoli. i could go down the line and tell you 10 or 20 of those examples we live with every day. we, it's more of an art than a science to be honest. as of now we don't have hard parameters but we're trying to develop the best we can. >> thank you. >> madam secretary, i understand you have a meeting at the white house but have agreed to stay so that members can have a few more questions, we'll end by 5:00 and we appreciate that. we want to go to mr. kissinger of illinois. >> thank you, madam secretary, thank you for staying, appreciate it. appreciate your service to your country. as was mentioned earlier, look
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forward to your next steps, let me just say i'm actually an air force pilot. i have a few rn concerns i want to lay out. one of the first thing i was told as a pilot is your country will never leave you behind. if you find mours down in enemy lines your country will move heaven and earth to come get you. if you find quours in armed conflict your country will do everything in its power to save you from that. as a representative of the administration here i have to ask you this. from the initial attack to the second attack, there was a lull of seven hours. i'm going to say this, i was one of a handful of republicans to vote to support the president's position in libia. there. i did it with the knowledge that we would have the forces in place to rescue personnel in a tough situation. in that intervening seven hours, military assets to what we know, what we can talk about were not put in place. there's an air base 1,044 miles from benghazi.
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airplanes could have been put in the air, even without missiles, there are nonviolent things they can do to disperse crowds. also when you briefed us, it's been hammered a little bit but when you briefed us you said this was a result of the video. i remember in fact, pretty upset about it -- you got upset when somebody suggested there was a terrorist attack. this was our briefing we had. but we find out now it wasn't the video. it was a terrorist attack. when we come talk about the issue of the drone and the surveillance overhead, if there was a link from the drone to watch what was going on live or somebody under you was able to watch what was going on live or maybe that link was down. another question, i watched
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your testimony in the senate. you said part of the reason we have a little bit of delay in understanding what was going on, we did not have immediate access to the security cameras, the security footage. but yet at the same time, you had mortars being reported as being fired on security personnel. if i would hear that mortars are being fired i would immediately assume regardless of whether i could see what was going on overhead, regardless if i could see the security footage, that demonstration. the other question i have, i'm laying a few out for you, the foreign response team. was that your decision not to deploy that right away? was that logistics? where did that come from? and the final i think i want to say, again, as a believer, which i think you believe, that we are in a time where it was very important for american leadership to be out in front, to prevent a resurgence of jihaddist activities of al qaeda activity, i'm worried
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about the strategy of leading from behind. if the united states ambassador in libya, and i say this respectfully, can't get a message forward to the secretary of state about his security, one of the most hot zones in the world i worry about a lead from behind strategy. if we have no assets on alert that can respond in a seven- hour lull in two different attacks in one of the most hot spots in the world, on 9/11, on the anniversary, is the lead from behind strategy failing? because i really want american leadership to be strong. i believe in freedom and i believe we're the people that will be able to take freedom around the globe. with that, i give you the for your generosity. >> i thank you for your service both in the air force and here. there was a lot packed into that. let me see what i can cover
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quickly and we'll get the rest to you in writing. d.o.d. took every action it could take starting from the time that the president directed secretary panetta and chairman dempsey to do so. again, i turned to the a.r.b. because that's to me a much more factually based finding, the board found no evidence of any undue delays in decision making or denial of support from washington or military combatant commanders. quite the contrary, the safe evacuation of all u.s. government personnel 12 hours after the initial attack and subsequently to ram stein was the result of exceptional coord neigh and response and helped save the lives of two severely wounded americans. having said that, i think it's porn we do more to coordinate with d.o.d. along the lines of what you're talking about because who knows what's going to be facing us in the next
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months and years. with respect to the video, i did not -- with rment to pred tar -- i did not say it was about the video for libya. feed or video of the attack, we could not see that at the state department. there was no access to that, at no time did i have a live feed of the attack. not from any system in our compound and not from the annex or from any u.a.d. --uav. there's been confusion because we did talk a lot about the surveillance camera video that eventually got to us. i will give you more information about that because i think it is important to understand how this happened and as you know, congressman, the annex was not under my authority, informs was flowing into another agency, --
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information was flowing into another agency, more than one agency, and more than one other agency, and those people were incredibly brave but overwhelmed as well. >> mr. kennedy of massachusetts. >> thank you, mr. chairman. madam secretary, thank you for what i can only describe as a truly exemple player career -- exemplary career. i have two broad-based questions for you, ma tam secretary. -- madame secretary. you have held this office for four years at an extraordinarily challenging time in our history. we passed the two-year an verse -- anniversary of the arab awakening and we're veeg ports from africa and the mideast around pakistan and afghanistan, as you quote on your -- close on your tenure i wondered if you'd share some important lessons learned from
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the time you spent in this post and enlighten us as to what congress can do to help respond and get in front of these threats as we move forward and related to that, if i may, assuming that you're going to say about increased engagement at the ground level. how do we do that in areas that are unstable where we need to depend on local government or local security forces that quite frankly we've seen don't have the ability to provide the type of security that our diplomats are going to demand? see you here. i thank you for your interest in looking sort of into the future. let me just make a couple of points. first, we have a lot of tools that we don't use as well as we should. i think we've abdicated the
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broadcasting arena where both in tv and radio, which are considered kind of old fashioned, media are still very important in a lot of difficult places where we're trying to do business. i think we have to get our act together. i would hope this committee would pay attention to the broadcasting board of governors which is in kess desperate need of assistance, intervention, and change. i think, too, social media is a great tool, we've begun trying to use it much more in the state department and not communicate with leaders and officials, i started two organizations, one a new operation inside the state department that is staffed with interagency experts so i'm not
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saying anything that's classified but it's beginning to try to respond to al qaeda and other jihaddist propaganda. so if they put up a video which talks about how terrible americans are, we put up a video which talks about how terrible they are. we are trying to meet them in the media channels that they are communicating with people. we're also at the beginning of an organization, help to stand up the global counterterrorism forum. if we don't work with partners and understand more effectively how to counter violent extremism, how to stop recruiters, turn families and communities against the jihaddists, there will be a constant flow of them. that. there are other things i would like to share with you and others on the committee who are interested. i often, it's not a perfect analogy but i would say that our fight against international communism, against the soviet
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union, during the cold war, we did a lot of things really well. we kept people's hopes alive. we communicated with freedom lovers and advocates behind the iron curtain. we did it through media, through our values. i think we've got a similar challenge even though it's a very different world. let's get smart about it. let's figure out how we're going to put some points on the board, so to speak in dealing with both government and populations. and if i could just, i know that representative duncan is left but his question took me a little by surprise because our op center doesn't do instant messaging. the reason you haven't gotten instant messages is we don't do instant messaging. i want to put that into the record and hope his staff or someone will convey that to him. >> thank you. we go to mr. brooks of alabama. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and secretary clinton. it's an honor to be here today and i want to thank you for the
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time you've spent with us and with the senate for that matter, i'm sure it's been a long day. my experience is truth without credibility is meaningless and credibility once lost is difficult to reacquire. my concern is the degree to which stault statements about benghazi have danieled america's credibility not only here but abroad. i don't focus on your statements in that regard, rather i focus on others. on september 16, 2012, on "meet the press," ambassador susan rice stated, and i quote, what happened in benghazi was initially a ton tain -- spontaneous reaction to what had transpyred in cairo, almost a copy cat of the demonstrations against our facilities in cairo which were prompted by the video, end quote. let me broke the state -- break parts, if i might. i'd like you to confirm whether her comments were true or false. secretary clinton, is
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ambassador rice's statement that benghazi was a spontaneous reaction to the cairo protests factually accurate? >> well, i think if you look at the a.r.b. finding, congressman, there is still question about what caused it, so i don't want to mislead you in any way. that is not the weight of the evidence right now but i think until the f.b.i. completes its investigation we're not going to know all the reasons why these people showed up with weapons and stormed our compound. >> well, secretary clinton is ambassador rice's state thament benghazi was a copy cat of the cairo demonstrations factually accurate? >> it turned out not to be because the cairo demonstrations were not heavily arm and we did eventually get host nation security support. so there are -- there were differences. but again i would say that secretary rice conveyed information that had been provided by the intelligence
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community and the interagency process. into the process. is the statement that benghazi was, quote, prompted by an anti-muslim video, end quote, factually accurate? >> i'd have to go back to my first answer, we don't know all the answers. >> on september 16, the very same day you and ambassador susan rice made her statements to american people in the world, the libyan president said on npr, quote, the idea that this criminal and cowardly act was a spontaneous protest that it just spun out of control, is completely unfounded and preposterous. we fermly believe that this was a free pre-calculated, preplanned attack carried out specifically to attack the
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united states consulate, end quote. as we now know, from everything i have read at least, the libyan president told the truth. contrast that with the statements by ambassador rice to the united nations. it forces one to wonder whether libya's intelligence was that much better than america's on september 16 or whether libyan leaders were that much more willing to be candid or to avoid misstatements. secretary clinton, what evidence was there that was so compeling that it caused the white house through ambassador susan rice to make these representations about spon stains you protests, anti-muslim videos and the like, despite evidence and statements of libya's own president ott con tear. -- contrary? statements an affirmative act on her part where was the it? >> congressman, i was not involved in the so-called talking points process.
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my understanding is it was a typical process trying to get to the best information available, it was an intelligence product. they are, as i again understand it, working with their committees of jurisdiction to try to unpack that but i will say that all of the senior administration officials, including ambassador rice, who spoke publicly to this terrible incident, had the same information from the intelligence community. appreciate your response so far but if you're not familiar with compelling evidence to support the statements made by ambassador rice, who would know? >> there was evidence, and the evidence was being sifted and analyzed by the intelligence community, which is why the intelligence community was the principal decider about what went into talking points. there was also the added problem of nobody wanting to say things that would undermine the
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information so it's much more complex than i think we're giving it credit for, sir. your time. >> the ranking member and i discussed going to three minutes for questions for here on out. without objection, that's what we'll do. >> thank you for appearing before the committee today. new member of congress, i speak for the freshmen, we hope in a few years we'll get that chance to serve again. you know, from my perspective it was felt deeply in northern california. the best way to honor their memory is to do everything we can to honor and protect our men and women around the world
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in an increasingly dangerous situation, you've been forth coming with information, we appreciate that. much has been made today about the flow of information but i want to quote the former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, admiral mike mullen, you said after the a.r.b. was issued, as someone who has run large organizations and the secretary of state has been very clear about taking responsibility here, it was from my interpb -- perspective it was not reasonable in terms of having a specific level of knowledge that was very specifically resident in her staff and over time certainly didn't bring that to her attention. that was admiral mike mullen. secretary, how many cables did you say arrived to the state department, how long did it take you to read 1.4 million cables?
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>> i tried to read 1.4 million cables, i don't think i'd be sitting here today, i'd be collapsed somewhere. i appreciate what admiral mullen said because when you do sit on top of large organizations, in his case the united states military which is huge, in my case the state department and usaid, you put into place processes and you have to trust the judgment the good sense of the people in your organization, so those 1.43 million cables they come into the state department, the tradition is they're all addressed to me but the vast, vast majority are funneled through these processes to get to the right people who are expected to take the right action. and 99.9% of the time people do. i want to reiterate that. it's an incredible organization, particularly security professionals, who have stopped
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so many attack bus occasionally we see a serious problem like we have seen here. that's what we're trying to fix. >> thank you for your candor. >> mr. tom cotton of arkansas. >> good afternoon, madam speaker, thank you -- madam here. we are happy to have you here. i bring greetings from many of our mutual friends in arkansas. some of our peers on the other side have expressed their ideas for your future, i just wish in 2008. >> i did pretty well in arkansas. >> you did. you said on september 21 that we will not rest until we have tracked down and brought to>> yes, sir. >> earlier you said i hope the f.b.i. is able to investigate.
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does the difference in those two statements reflect any difference on the progress in the investigation? >> congressman, first congratulations, good to see you here. it does not, i am conscious of the fact that talking about f.b.i. investigations is something you have to be extremely careful about for obvious reasons. i hope it's clear that it's going to take some type. the f.b.i. is conducting an investigation. what actions are taken will be derled in the future. -- will be determined in the future. >> what is the united states government's position on the real of al qaeda in islamic benghazi? >> i'm not going to prejudge what the f.b.i. determines. we know there are al qaeda- related organizations as we saw from the pictures that were held up throughout the region including in eastern lib yasm we know that people like we saw with the recent attacks in algeria like to associate themselves with al qaeda but we've got to be careful about
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what that means. core al qaeda has been severely depleted coming out of afghanistan and pakistan. what we're dealing with now is the jihaddists who have been associated with al qaeda who have gained, unfortunately, very serious combat experience, coming back to the countries, in order to go wage jihad in central asia. these groups are all part of the same global jihaddist movement. the goals are unfortunately the similar and pose similar threats to us and our partners. >> the chairman and mr. poe referenced a due netion suspect who was -- a due thesian suspect who was released -- a tunisian suspect who was released. was released?
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>> i had a long conversation with high-ranking officials about this, as did director mueller of the f.b.i. when he was there. we have been assured there was an effort to have rule of law, judicial process, sufficient evidence not yet available to be presented but a very clear commitment made to us that they will be monitoring the whereabouts of karzai and we're going to hold them to that and watch carefully. >> thank you, madam speaker. >> mr. lowenthal of california. >> thank you, madam secretary. i want to compliment you on your exemplary service but more than that i want to say how much i've appreciated your openness, your thoughtfulness today, your transparency. what i'm struck with in this hearing is a greater appreciation of the courage of
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state department personnel. i think we are left with that understanding of just how courageous personnel have been in taking on assignments that in the past never had been taken on before. and you've -- you have abeably presented to us why that's important. why it's important -- ably presented to us why that's important. my question is very similar to schneider's. that was how do you make that analysis between risk and presence. what are some of the obstacles in making that. how do we move forward with that and how does the congress understand some of those -- that kind of balance? >> well, this is my ongoing hope that we can get it more right than wrong. let me just make a few points because it's an issue that i
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seriously. first of all, you've got to remember that when we talk about the state department and dip lo hatic facilities, that covers, we are the umbrella for so many other agencies in our government. if we were not there, many of those agencies representatives agencies' representatives would have a difficult time being there. we are the diplomatic presence that permits us to pursue law enforcement objectives, intelligence objectives, military objectives, and so much more. so it's not just about us sitting around and say, you know, do we really want our diplomats at risk? it's ok, what are the equities of the rest of the government that would be effective if we decided we had to close shop because the risk was too great? i want to stress that because i don't think you can understand, at least from my perspective, how difficult the calculation is without knowing that it's
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not just about the state department and usaid. secondly, i don't think we can retreat from these hard places. we have to harden our security presence but we can't retreat. we've got to be there. we've got to be picking up the -- picking up intelligence information, building relationships and if we had a whole table of some of our most experienced ambassadors sitting here today, they would be speaking with a loud chorus, you know, yes, help us be secure but don't shut us down, don't keep us behind high walls in bunkers so we can't get out and figure out what's going on. that's the balance i've been trying to make for four years. more questions. we'll end at 5:00. california. >> thank you, madam secretary. first of all, i want to complipt compliment you. it's been a long, long day, to survive all these questions,
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it's been tough. i want to talk to you about marine security guards. and this is from somebody who spent a long time in the marine corps. not under the cognizance of the d.o.d. or state department. you had smings -- things about additional marine security guards -- guard detachments and the question is about whether it's prudent to task -- to organize those assets that are organic to you and perhaps put them in those areas that have the high threat level? if you could answer that, i'd appreciate that. astute observation. i mean, we believe that we need to increase both our marine security guard detachments as
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well as our diplomatic security and create more synergy and cooperation in these high threat posts. the marine security guards, as you know, are very, very much a presence on more than 150 of our posts. and in order to give them the facilities an support they need they need a marine house. they need to be very close to the embassy. because as -- if you saw the recent movie "argo," you saw the marines destroying classified material when the mob was outside in tehran. they are experts at that. they are people that are totally relied on by the entire mission. but as i said earlier, historically their job has not been personal security. so we've got to figure out,
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working with d.o.d., particularly with the marines, you know, and most of them are very young you know, i take pictures with them everywhere i go. usually the sergeant is older, more experienced, but most of the marines on duty are quite young. we've got to figure out how we really take advantage of their presence and that's a conversation we're in the midst of with our d.o.d. colleagues. with your experience, i would welcome any insight or ideas you've got about how we really do use marine security detachments better. >> thank you very much. i yield back my time. >> thank you. grace ling from new york. >> congratulations, grace. >> madam secretary, wonderful to see you again. if you have fellow -- advites for a fellow new yorker finding her way in this town, let me know.
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as a woman and a mom thank you for being a role model for women not only in the quites but also throughout the world. thank you for your compassion and leadership, always. i'm curious. in the past week we've seen the french respond decisively to the situation in mali. the african union has fought well in somalia. do you see this as an advancement of multilateralism in combating islamic extremism in the mideast, in africa, and what more can we ask for allies in that area? >> congratulations grace. that's an excellent question. i think that's exactly what we're coping with right now. i'm very proud of the work we did on -- with african nations to stand up, financially support and train the force that has driven them out of the dominant position it had. that meant putting american trainers, working with troops
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from uganda, burundi, eventually kenya, advising other countries that were willing to put in assets. it took money, took time, what if we recognize the new somaly government which could never have been possible out -- without the support, the u.n. was strongly behind it, we got other nations to invest. what we're looking at in west africa is to try to help support an african a.u. supported troop combination from a number of countries to really take the lead against the terrorists in northern mali. again, this is hard. if united states does something
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on our own, and i appreciated what the congressman said, no one can match us in military assets and prowess. a lot of the challenges we face are not immediately or sustainably solved by military action alone. therefore, we have got to get countries in the region to increase their border security, to increase their antiterrorist, counter terrorist efforts inside the own orders, we have a lot to do in west africa. so, i think you are right to point out that the united states has to play a role, but in used to be part of a multilateral effort in order to have a chance at success. >> thank you, madam secretary. we have discussed important issues. i remain concerned about whether the review board capture the full picture of what happened, but i think we can agree that we can work together
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moving ahead to improve security and a number of different areas. this hearing now stands adjourned. [captions copyright national [captioning performed by the national captioning institute.
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